Federal prosecutors in Maryland have charged five individuals with distributing heroin, cocaine and fentanyl in the southern part of the state. The men have been charged with conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs and possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute. They each face up to 60 years in prison if convicted. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the St. Mary's County and Charles County Sheriff's Offices and the Prince George's County Police Department.
According to a U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland press release, the investigation centered on a 33-year-old Clinton man who was thought to be the leader of the group. Evidence was gathered during a series of controlled narcotics purchases made by confidential informants. At least one fentanyl overdose death has been linked to the group's alleged activities.
Agents, deputies and officers took the five men into custody on Aug. 15. They also executed search warrants at eight locations allegedly used by the group to store, prepare and distribute illegal drugs. Officials say that undisclosed quantities of heroin and fentanyl were recovered during these searches along with six firearms. Prosecutors are also said to be in possession of audio recordings of the men discussing drug sales and talking about acquiring weapons and ammunition.
The severe mandatory minimum sentences that federal drug charges carry can give prosecutors a powerful position from which to begin plea negotiations, and this is especially true in cases involving multiple defendants. When their clients have been apprehended along with several other suspects, experienced criminal defense attorneys may suggest pursuing a plea agreement sooner rather than later. This is because federal prosecutors tend to make far less generous sentencing offers once they have secured the cooperation of a defendant.
Source: The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, "Five Charged Federally for Dealing Fentanyl, Heroin, and Cocaine in Prince George's and Charles Counties", Press release, Aug. 15, 2019